Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Nigerian Women Rally for Democratic Rights

After Nigeria’s Senate rejected constitutional amendments that would expand democratic rights, women rallied outside parliament to demand equality.

Sam Carliner

March 4, 2022
Facebook Twitter Share
Protesters sit on the ground in front of the National Assembly gate after hours of demonstrations over gender bills by lawmakers in Abuja, Nigeria
Image: Timothy Obiezu/VOA

Nigerian women are taking to the streets for democratic rights. On Wednesday, hundreds of women rallied outside parliament in response to the Senate rejecting five bills to expand women’s rights and access to basic democratic representation.

In Nigeria, women do not even have the right to inherit their husband’s estates. One of the bills that was rejected would have guaranteed women this right after five years of marriage. Another bill would have provided citizenship to foreign-born husbands of Nigerian women. Foreign-born wives of Nigerian men already receive automatic citizenship through marriage. Other bills would have reserved 35 percent of political party leadership and legislative seats for women. Currently, women only make up four percent of Nigeria’s legislature.

The rejection of the women’s rights bills were part of a series of bills to amend the country’s 1999 constitution, which was established as the country was transitioning from military rule to bourgeois democracy. The senate also rejected a bill to allow the Nigerian diaspora to vote in the country’s elections. 

Nigerian advocacy groups had spent years working with legislators to create the bills and grow support for them, just to watch the Senate vote them down. This shows the limits of relying on bourgeois institutions to win and defend basic rights, rather than mobilizing the power of the masses to demand and secure those rights from the beginning of the campaign. These limits do not make it any less inexcusable that the Senate rejected basic rights. The whole world must support the women’s movement, especially their mobilizations in the streets. So far, the government has let these peaceful protests happen, but Nigeria is not without brutal repression of mobilizations. In 2020 the government responded to a youth-led abolition movement by massacring protesters. 

Workers in the United States have particular power to support the women’s movement because Nigeria is a U.S. client state. The United States has invested billions of dollars in building Nigeria’s infrastructure (medical, agricultural, residential, etc.) with the trade-off that U.S. industries have privileged access to Nigeria’s resources and labor. In addition, the United States maintains its influence through NGOs and diplomatic relations, both serving as tools of soft U.S. imperialism. The United States also has significant influence over Nigeria’s military through AFRICOM, a division of the U.S. military that has trained Nigerian troops and provides military aid to Nigeria.

Movements for democratic rights must be amplified by the world. Workers in the United States cannot neglect our responsibility to aid progressive movements in Nigeria by opposing our own government’s support for corrupt politicians. People in the United States must expose and resist the U.S. government’s arming of brutal military and police forces, which act to suppress progressive African movements and maintain imperialist ransacking of the African continent. Solidarity with Nigerians fighting for gender equality and democratic rights!

Facebook Twitter Share

Sam Carliner

Sam Carliner is a socialist with a background in journalism. He mainly writes for Left Voice about US imperialism. He also tweets about imperialism as @saminthecan.

Middle East-Africa

The crowd at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, holding a huge Palestine flag that reads "Free Palestine"

The Palestinian Cause Is a Winner of the World Cup

Palestine, while not having a team at the FIFA World Cup, won the hearts of fans and national teams, and grew in international support during the games.

Julia Wallace

December 19, 2022
US President Joe Biden and DR Congo President Felix Tshisekedi joke during a group photo at the G20 of World Leaders Summit on October 30, 2021

Biden Shores Up Imperialist Interests at U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit

The United States is hosting a U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. The Biden administration’s supposed interest in developing African leadership is just a new strategy for U.S. imperialism to plunder the continent and counter China.

Sam Carliner

December 13, 2022
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa in a suit

“Farmgate” Threatens the Very Foundations of Capitalist Stability in South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa faces an impeachment vote Tuesday. More than a simple case of corruption, it’s a political crisis of the ruling party and of capitalist stability in the country.

Sam Carliner

December 5, 2022

The Slave Labor World Cup

Qatar’s wealth and power are built on the labor power of migrant construction workers, who toil amid semislave conditions.

Santiago Montag

November 22, 2022

MOST RECENT

A horizontal testing scantron with almost all of the bubbles filled in

The Changes to AP African American Studies Are “Absolutely Political”: A Former College Board Worker Speaks Out

A former College Board worker explains how the company's "apolitical" pedagogical approaches privilege right wing ideas, even as the right wing accuses them of spreading "wokeism."

Jess DuBois

February 4, 2023

The Strike Is Our Most Powerful Weapon, We Need to Use It against the Police!

Workers have the opportunity and ability to shut down the system. This is why Democrats, Republicans, and even the Squad broke the strike of the railroad workers. If we use our workplaces as organizing tools against racism and police murder, we can build the power to take control and shut them down! 

Julia Wallace

February 3, 2023

Dispatches from the Picket Lines: All Out for the Temple Graduate Workers Strike

A Temple faculty member reports.

Jason Koslowski

February 3, 2023

Massive Looting of Public Resources at Stake in District Detroit Redevelopment Scheme

Billionaire developers in Detroit have proposed capturing almost one billion dollars in public money to fund their newest project. The deal is far from sealed, but organized community opposition will be necessary to prevent approvals from sailing through.

Rita Singer

February 3, 2023